Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Justice and Perspective

“The service of faith and the promotion of justice” stated by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach are what truly drive the Jesuit teachings. As a student here at Loyola University Maryland I look forward to becoming a man who will enter the world post-college and be variable in my skills attained from this university. Recently the student-run theater troupe on campus performed Death and the Maiden. As I have been an actor my whole life and a bit of a theater buff I had to go support the show which included my dear friends Anna and Justin. A quick summary: the play is set at a dark time in Chile’s history, the conversion of a military rule to a democracy. Justin plays Gerardo Escobar, a lawyer and the newly appointed head of a presidential committee to find men behind the dictatorship and bring them to justice. His significant other is Paulina Salas, played by Anna. She ends up going insane because we find out she has been the victim of rape and violence at the hand of “the doctor” during the revolution. She captures the third and final character Roberto Miranda whom she believes is “the doctor” and decides to put him on trial in her own home to satisfy her own twisted desire for justice.
The play focuses on the will of one woman to achieve justice, to right the wrongs of the one who caused her so much pain. When I think of justice, I think of superheroes like Batman and Ironman. Such fiction is relevant but only to a point. Therefore I turned to more realistic entities such as the Jesuit ideals with which I have become familiar. Service of others is what leads to justice. It is like the events that occur in the poem “Accident, Mass. Ave.” by Jill McDonough. At first we might be angry at the world because of certain events, but after we realize there is nothing to really be angered about, we help the people around us. This in turn, will help others see that living a just life is a life of simple service. Perhaps in the play, the drama was much too intense for poor Paulina to overcome; yet she did not have the Jesuits to guide her.
In a favorite poem of mine, “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost, the narrator seems to be an educated man who provides unique perspective about mending a wall with his neighbor. The tale is one that is intended to provide clarity. You mustn’t be hindered by the obstacles of life; instead branch out and expand your mind. Yet it is human nature to develop habits and uphold traditions. The Jesuit tradition has always been to educate the poor and create a well-rounded individual; breaking down walls and constructing new walls that help create knowledge. This might beg the question: if the Jesuits seek to educate the poor, then why does tuition at Loyola amount to over $50,000 a year? I am simply playing devils advocate to draw a connection of course but it certainly remains puzzling indeed.
Another poem titled “Learning to Read” by Francis E. W. Harper is about beating the oppressor. A slave learning to read has to be the ultimate insult to the southern plantation master, and in the play, Paulina thought that justice was the best way to seek revenge. As proven in these works, satisfaction can be derived when many say you cannot and then you achieve the impossible.

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